Non-Blog | Channing Whitaker

What I've Been Reading: Dec. 2019

I was so taken with N.K. Jemisin's The Fifth Season, the first in her Broken Earth series, I launched right into the second book, The Obelisk Gate. The book picks up right where the first left off. It seems likely to me that Jemisin planned the continuation of the story from the beginning because the transition was seamless.

The story begins with Essun, the main character carried over from book one, finding a new home of sorts while the world continues to plummet towards ruin. Interestingly, as Essun's powers have made her the target of prejudice though her life, she finds a new openness to it in her new community. In fact, it seems they've actively been looking for people like her.

Through the book, we learn more about what brought the world to this point, more about some other sentient beings on the planet, the "Rock Eaters." Essun's relationship with her mentor reaches new heights. We see several tangential characters get a bit of development. And Essun even learns more about the power she holds. Amid it all, we get plenty of direct conflict and action, both between characters at odds, and civilizations at odds, and most of the social themes I found enriched the first book, carried on into this one.

Obelisk Gate has a satisfying climax and sets up intrigue to move into the third in the series as quickly as one slides into the second. It was an excellently executed middle, to what I believe is a three-book arc, and I'm anxious to dive into the next installment.
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